There has been a staggering amount of new music hitting our ears this fall, but one single in particular has towered above the rest, soundtracking days in the office, walks home in the chilly autumn breeze and frantic fist-pumping pre-partying.
“Randy” is nearly seven full minutes of throbbing disco fantasia, and it is also a grand return to form from Justice, the legendary French electronic duo who are on the eve of releasing their third album Woman. The track may just be the most singularly refined song of their career, so expectations for the full-length work are accordingly high.
We caught up with the duo, Xavier de Rosnay and Gaspard Augé, ahead of a secret DJ gig in Berlin to talk about their return to the spotlight, nightclub life and the everlasting appeal of Tom Cruise.
So welcome back to Berlin! Are we going to find you hitting the clubs tonight?
XR: When we DJ we go to clubs, but we don’t normally go out.
You don’t enjoy the experience of clubbing?
GA: Not really, no. Not even when we were younger.
XR: We sound like so much fun now!
What were you guys thinking about when you started writing this album? What was your headspace like?
XR: It’s corny but our headspace is always about making the best music we can possibly make.
GA: We knew that we were starting to make a record since 2012, since the last tour. We talked about many ideas, but we don’t arrive at the studio and know what comes next. Our mindset is always to try to make it the best we can.
Let’s talk about “Randy.” Is that intentionally used as a double entendre?
XR: We had no idea! We had no idea that randy meant horny. When we wrote this tune we were looking for the melodic lines, the vocal lines, so were just doing gibberish. We sing whatever words to find the melody. And then when we wrote the lyrics with Morgan Phalen, the singer, we replaced all the gibberish with real words. And this is how “Randy” came to be.
GA: It’s a gender-neutral name and we wanted “Randy” to be either a girl or a man. There is a double entendre as you say, but that was completely accidental.
The scene you all came out of in Paris is so heavily romanticized, is it strange for you all to have your past idealized like that?
XR: That era people go crazy for was a little earlier than when we started, we came right after that.
GA: We feel more like we’re from things like that Zac Efron movie We Are Your Friends. We have yet to see something that we’ve actually lived on screen yet so.
XR: But of course we haven’t seen it.
You wouldn’t enjoy a Zac Efron movie?
XR: I don’t have anything against Zac Efron, I actually saw him in a movie where he was quite good! I think it was Neighbors? That was kind of funny.
If your new album was going to score a movie, what kind of movie would it be? What would it be about?
XR: It wouldn’t be a good movie. And it would be with Tom Cruise. Nothing beats classical music in movies, usually movies with pop music in it are not the kind of movies we like. I can’t think of one amazing movie that uses this sort of music. But just in terms of mood, we have Tom Cruise. Because Tom Cruise is our favorite actor. And he gets better with age.
GA: I think it would be bit like sci-fi, but not too sci-fi, nothing with aliens. A blend between sci-fi and a love story and maybe Tom Cruise beating people up.
Is there an essential Tom Cruise movie for you?
GA: Well that’s what’s amazing about him, he didn’t do a lot of bad movies. He’s always amazing.
Really? You really think Mission: Impossible II is good?
XR: Yeah, true. But War of the Worlds? Come on. And of course Risky Business.
GA: Magnolia. And the Kubrick one.
XR: Eyes Wide Shut! Of course! My favorite Kubrick movie. People don’t take Tom Cruise seriously but look at all the directors he’s worked with! It must be because he’s insane. Cruise, not Kubrick. Though actually, both.
Do you feel like there’s something in particular with this album that may be unique to it?
XR: When you spend one year and a half working on an album you always end up doing things that you’ve never done before. Because part of the process is to try things and to have fun making it. It wouldn’t really be fun for us to try to reproduce things that we made earlier. But then again, we don’t know how much of it is different from what we’ve already done and how much is really similar. The way that we perceive our own music is very different from the way you hear it.
Do you ever wish that you had more of a say in how your work is received?
XR: To be honest, the less we talk about it the better it is (laughs). We like for it to go out into the world and have a life of its own. In the sense, not that we don’t like to talk about our records or whatever, but the down side of that is that finally the intentions that we have don’t matter.
GA: It’s a bit restrictive for the listener’s experience. We don’t want to write too much about the way people perceive our music. It’s a bit like going to the cinema to see a movie and knowing the plot already.
Do you read your reviews or comments online?
XR: I don’t like to read them! Not reviews or interviews, nothing, it freaks me out. I mean sometimes it happens that I read a review. And they can make a point that’s cool, but it’s often just too much information for me. And that feeling will never change I think.
What do you think your spirit animal?
GA: I think it’s obvious I’m a dog, like a cocker spaniel. And he’s a monkey.
XR: Oh a monkey, for sure. Look at the length of my arms! And I’ve eaten a banana this whole interview.
Justice’s new album Woman is out this Friday, November 11.
For more of our exclusive music interviews, check out our chat with 2D of Gorillaz.
- Photography: Dominik Schulte / Highsnobiety.com